Our Caesar, who art in heaven…

Moving from Manchester, I’ve had to readjust my listening habits. Boston talk radio has really declined in the last few years, but it was still pretty listenable, and far more blog-friendly. Local talk is far less political, and considerably more involved in community events.

But they still do plenty of politics.

I’ve become a listener and frequent caller to one local show, and they do a decent job on politics. They’re pretty conservative, and open about it (rather surprising, considering their proximity to Dartmouth College and Vermont), but they’re also entertaining.

One of their frequent guests is Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service, which seems to have a decidedly liberal bent (oddly enough). All this week, she’s been calling in from the Take Back America conference, a gathering of nutroots and other mixed nuts, with some rather interesting guests. Monday they had a representative of Media Matters For America plugging their “America is growing less conservative” codswallop, and yesterday they had a gentleman from Catholics United For The Common Good.

I missed the good father’s name, but he had some rather interesting things to say. He stressed that the Catholic Church, aside from its positions on abortion and birth control, is by and large a liberal, progressive institution when it comes to political and social matters. He said that there was a lot of opposition within the Church to most of what President Bush has said and done, highlighting the war in Iraq, his calls for an “ownership society,” tax policies, and a host of other things.

Then he closed by saying that, in his view, the Church’s position was best reflected not by Bush’s “ownership society,” but by the famous line from President Kennedy’s inaugural address:

“Ask not what your government can do for you, but what you can do for your government.”

My jaw dropped. Here was this guy who had just spent several minutes running down the Bush administration, at a conference dedicated to overthrowing the current government (albeit peacefully and fully within the law), misquoting President Kennedy to conflate “government” and “country.”

I called in to the station (off the air) and chastised Konrad and Brian for letting that slip by unchallenged, and they admitted that they had missed it. The segment was running right up against a break, and they were focused on not messing up their schedule, and they had let their subconsciouses just correct the terms. But they spent several minutes after that discussing how this was probably not a deliberate falsehood (my first thought) but, rather, a Freudian slip showing how this guy thinks of the government as equivalent to the nation. That the government should be the resource of first recourse, that all blessings and all services and all good should come from the government.

Unsurprisingly, I disagree. And, I think, President Kennedy — a Catholic, as I recall, like this representative of Catholics United For The Common Good — would not appreciate his words being twisted like that.

"Presidential" Crisis Management
This Week's Business News